A Metaphoric Barn Raising (aka, a Community’s Collective Action!)
January 20, 2019 — 9:01

By Grace Maselli

It’s all about getting it done. Together. Pretend it’s 1900 in Indiana. It’ll be mighty cold soon, and your barn, well, it needs a raisin’. Through collective community effort, your neighbors come together with lots of up-front prep work done. Lumber, hammers, and nails are at the ready for able-bodied builders—others bring food to sustain the collective. Before you know it, in one to two days, with dozens of people on the job, the structure is up. Later, there’s a party inside where it’s warm, with a fiddle or three and a dance. Next up, Jeremiah and Annabell’s place seven miles down the road.

The point? Interdependent social frameworks—neighborly and family bondedness, mean there are people who can be there when you need it most. And to whom you can return the favor. This is the very essence of Dr. Edgar Cahn’s vision 30 years ago or so when he conceived the timebank model of service exchange sans money. By connecting through local Tampa Bay Area’s timebanks, members and potential members stand to expand the help they give and receive through the barn-raising archetype. Whether it’s assistance you need moving your pile of stuff into storage, a leg up with cooking, yoga lessons to jump start your fitness goals, job coaching, or a ride to a doctor’s appointment, timebanking can get you there without money because in our world, time is the currency required. It’s free to join. And when you do, your modern day equivalent of Willis and Bertha, neighbors down the road—or, maybe, even across the Howard Franklin Bridge, just might be the folks in your life to lay a strong foundation. Click here to get your application to TBT rolling!

 

 

Exchange-a-Palooza!
January 19, 2019 — 17:34

By Grace Maselli

 

Tampa Bay Timebank’s Third Tuesday membership meeting this January 15 was spirited and industrious. It brought with it 12 attendees and White Elephant fun. Debuting during the latter activity was a red octopus “carousel” for drying your most delicate hand washables! Check it out right here as members who joined the meeting at Tampa’s Life Enrichment Center (LEC) displayed their giftiness. Candles, potpourri, sachet (Do you notice a coincidental theme?), jewelry, chocolate, and hybrid pens-book markers also made their way into the gift swap.

The evening was also notably marked by strong emphasis on timebank exchanging—where one member’s hour of a “service” offering, anything from running an errand or editing a research paper, to washing another person’s car or painting her living room walls, without money involved (except in some cases where the cost of gas and some supplies may be warranted) in the transaction—is equal to every other person’s hour of service. Exchanging is the lifeblood, the heart and soul, of timebanking and core to the TBT Revitalization Project.

Amped-Up to Grow

As such, our cheerful leadership’s sustained focus is on getting timebank exchanges amped-up to grow community connections. Among these broader Tampa Bay Area leaders are Dr. Andy LePage, founder of the Spring Hill Timebank, pictured here holding the ever-lovely plastic octopus and surrounded by members. The esteemed Marie Nelson who founded TBT, Rita Cobbs, our current and venerable coordinator—and Nancy Wolf, Kelley Curtis, Karen Lowman, and Vikki Sinclair, are all longstanding, invaluable members who play leadership roles, among other pivotal supporter-members otherwise known as ardent advocates of the timebank way.

We Hustled and Bustled, Moved this Way and That

Livening things up and driving the point home, Andy led an exchange exercise that went like this:

• He handed out paper copies of his “Love to Do’s” list of approximately 45 timebank activities/services and asked everyone to circle the options they were most drawn to. The stuff they liked best, from art and pet care to home repair and language interpretation—and a gaggle of things in between.
• We were directed to circle three to five of our faves.
• Next, Andy handed out Post-it Notes and pens.
• For each darling activity/service that a participant selected, he or she filled out one Post-it with the specific activity indicated and his or her name included on each sticky note.
• We stuck the Post-its on three walls.
• We were invited to walk around the room to see who shares similar interests.
• So we hustled and bustled with springs in our steps, this way and that, through the room, to gaze upon Post-its and see what was what.
• Then we gathered in a cozy community circle where we had an open conversation and grouped people with like interests.
• Immediately, some exchanges were set up!
Voila!

The moral of the story: Timebanking works beautifully when people get to help each other and themselves and self-express, all at the same time. Andy’s taken his exchange exercise on the road to various timebank area meetings to cheers and whoop-whoops of acceptance.

Join us in February for our monthly member-and-guest meeting and orientation and let us know what exchanges you’re interested in! Here are the details:

Date Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Time 6:30-8:30 PM
Address 9704 North Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33612; phone: 813.932.0241
Questions? Contact coordinator@tampabaytime.org or leave a blog post here

 

 

 

 

 

Shapeshift to Earn Timebank Hours
January 11, 2019 — 20:55

By Grace Maselli

You heard it here first. TBT “Silver Sneakers” members are starting the year off with a bang and a deep-knee bend. You can also throw in some weights, machines, and floor exercises at Shapes Fitness for Women in Tampa. Our members are gathering there to sweat and get their exercise groove-thang on. It’s every Friday at 10:30 a.m. for 30 or 60 minutes. Cost is $10 a month with a Silver Sneakers pass for our members through Medicare insurance. Earn timebank hours for your calorie-burning effort. So grab your gear and get a move on!

Date Fridays 
Time 10:30 to 11 a.m. OR 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., whatever you’re in the mood for!
Address Shapes Fitness for Women
11301 North 56th St.
Temple Terrace, FL. 33617
813.988.1676
Questions? Contact coordinator@tampabaytime.org and reference deep-knee bends. Yippee!
Mark Your Calendars for a Valentine’s Soirée!
January 11, 2019 — 20:08

By Grace Maselli

Tampa Bay Timebank members and friends are cordially invited to a Valentine’s Soirée potluck where each guest can safely wear his or her heart on their well-worn (or otherwise) sleeve! Come share an enchanting dish and be prepared to extol love, celebrate joy, and bemoan loss as may be applicable. (Uh, er, when isn’t it applicable?) Tell us your tales of love liberation or what your heart aches for. Come single, coupled, ambivalent, or whatever.

Festive Valentine’s Accessories Required for Entry!

Whether it’s a red glitter heart headbopper—or a suitable tinsel tiara and socks festooned with the ancient Roman god of love—come dressed for Valentine’s attention. Regale us with accounts of crushes from yesteryear or the last 10 minutes, or anything else cupid would wink at or shed a tear over. We’ll empathize over pink confections and 1950s Jell-O molds. (Does anyone know how to make a Jell-O mold?) Come join the TBT Valentine’s Soirée where we’ll pass the “talking heart” from participant to participant, sharing friendship and real life. 

Date Sunday, February 10, 2018
Time 3:00 to Our Heart’s Content
Address 2128 Park Crescent Drive
Land O Lakes, FL  34639
Questions? Contact coordinator@tampabaytime.org or call (215) 834-4567 and reference our Valentine’s  Soirée potluck.
There’s Soon to Be an Elephant in the Room
January 11, 2019 — 19:29

By Grace Maselli

Happy New Year! Join TBT at its regular Third Tuesday of the month member and friends meeting at the Tampa Life Enrichment Center. We’ll be talking timebanking, of course, and also doing a White Elephant Gift Exchange. Bring something you, uh, er, might not be in love with—or something you’re just not in the mood to keep for whatever reason. (It’s too big, too tight, you already have three, your least favorite 2nd cousin gave you the same gift four years in a row and you don’t need the extra inventory…)  We’ll be swapping post-holiday this-and-that for a few laughs and maybe a couple of, “Oh, I can’t live without this!” moments. Who knows? Bring your funky gift wrapped in either newsprint or brown paper for concealment and get revved to participate; toss in a light snack to share if you’re able! Here are the details:

Date Tuesday, January 15, 2018
Time 6:30-8:30 PM
Address 9704 North Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33612; phone: 813.932.0241
Questions? Contact coordinator@tampabaytime.org or call (215) 834-4567 and reference our White Elephant and monthly meeting event at LEC!
“The Rising Stock of Human Equity”
December 29, 2018 — 11:11

By Grace Maselli

Earlier this year in June, Smithsonian.com put a spotlight on timebanking in its article, “‘Time Banking’ Is Catching On In the Digital World; Apps that allow users to pay for services in redeemable credits instead of cash are helping to build communities“. Now that’s some off-the-chain positive exposure in our world of flipside currency; a world where we jettison cash in exchange for service hours of multiple kinds for our community members, from washing someone’s hair to ironing their doilies .

In addition to the classic “Hourworld” listed in the article (and the not-mentioned “Timebanks USA“), the Smithsonian piece dives into a newer digital environment for tracking exchange hours known as “Ying”. Part of Ying’s self-identify proclamation is, “We believe in the rising stock of human equity. We implore the laws of abundance and stoke the fire of continuous reciprocity…At YING, your self worth will always come before your net worth.” Wow! Edgar Cahn’s *got* to be proud…

The article also offers a caveat about how to elicit longevity within the timebanking paradigm. According to Ed Collom, co-author of Equal Time, Equal Value: Community Currencies and Time Banking in the US,  “the most successful time banks have official hosts and infrastructure; grassroots movements with no leadership tend to peter out.” Another reason why our TBT Revitalization Project is so meaningful as we pump it up leading into 2019!

 

 

Hooray! Holiday Demonstrates Revitalization Is Taking Hold
December 26, 2018 — 11:02

By Grace Maselli

This year, TBT crushed it with holiday cheer. We decked our halls and paid homage to Suessian Who Wompers and Pantookers. And with approximately 20 to 25 people present, our attendance spiked over the previous two months at the December 18th Third Tuesday of the Month gathering and Christmas fête held at the Tampa Life Enrichment Center. Needless to say, our holiday food table also overflowed with a yummy assortment. Thanks to Dr. Edgar S. Cahn, founder of the timebank concept, we hobnobbed, socialized, and looked each other in the eyes as we chatted, laughed, and made a gen-u-ine human connection to each other. On the Big Merry Day itself, Tuesday, December 25, some of us caravaned to an Open House holiday celebration at member Dr. Andy LePage’s joint for more joviality, holiday singing and, of course, eating. Phew! What a nourishing year it’s been on so many levels thanks to the Tampa Bay Timebank.

We’ll continue our feasting and singing and, of course, timebank exchanging, as we poise ourselves for 2019. Stay tuned for more as TBT launches into the new year, turning on its collective light bulbs to keep the momentum building around the TBT Revitalization Project! If you’ve got some groovy ideas, share them here in the blog.

 

Timebanks Come through in an Emergency
December 13, 2018 — 10:54

By Grace Maselli

Gratitude. I aim to be mindful of it not just at obvious times, not only at positive turning points, but daily. But I have to admit, some days this mindfulness works more fluidly than other days. This past Saturday I rushed my 19-year-old son to the ER after a two-hour drive north from Tampa to Orlando where he was in final exams week for his first semester of college. He contracted an off-the-charts case of mononucleosis that otherwise “self-resolves,” docs were saying. When we got to the ER my son’s fever was 103.5 and his heart rate was 133, both high, but the latter especially so for someone only 19 years old. More technically, his hemoglobin levels were tanking as his liver enzymes climbed, which meant both levels were moving in the wrong direction. “You just got unlucky,” one physician was quick to point out as my son was hooked up to IV fluids and “broad spectrum” IV antibiotics while umpteen blood-related tests were being run. The antibiotics were for a co-occurring bacterial infection noted by white blood cells in his body where they ought not to have been. My son went from a bed in the ER to outpatient “observation” to full in-patient treatment over a five-day period.

From the start members of the Tampa Bay and Spring Hill, not to mention people from the St. Petersburg Timebank, had my back. At 4:30 a.m. on Saturday I sent the first email notifying members in Spring Hill that I had to cancel my participation later that morning as a volunteer for two hours with a yard sale, and a two-hour stint later in the afternoon with another member assisting with her home organization project. This tipped my member-friends to the unfolding situation and the support was forthcoming from there.

I received routine check-ins from TBT and Spring Hill through text messaging and email and across the entire arc of the experience. Within a day I had a no-cost place to stay in Orlando if I needed it. (As it turned out, the hospital generously let me bunk in the empty double-occupancy bed next to my son once he moved into in-patient care. Another beautiful and unexpected gift. Not mention the fact that my manager gave me the time away from work needed to be with my son.) I was immediately put in contact with other timebank members, including those from Pinellas, who have expert information on how to rebuild the immune system. I have an ongoing timebank-driven consult for my son on the best dietary choices as he moves to rebuild his “organic” immunity through his long period of convalescence. I even now have timebanking hours I can use for life coaching as we head into 2019 that comes directly out of this intense experience.

A Reminder to Keep a Look-Out for the Gifts,
No Matter Their Size

My intention is to fortify my daily practice of taking account with even greater presence of mind those things large and small that fill me with gratitude. From the gorgeous, nostalgic smell of crushed leaves wafting toward my nostrils as my bike ambles over them, to the news that my child’s fever and heart rate are beginning to normalize, and everything in between. I am equally fortified to return the favor, and have deeper compassion for my timbank posse. And to the physician who said to my son, “You just got unlucky,” I gently, meaningfully say to him through the finite, revisionist dialogue in my head, “‘Dear sir, au contraire.'”

 

‘Tis the Season! So Dust Off Your Jolly and Join Us Tuesday, December 18
December 11, 2018 — 17:24

By Grace Maselli

Ho ho. And ho! It’s that time of year again for old-fashioned glazed ham and holiday popcorn balls. Or if you’re vegetarian, polenta and goat cheese stacks. Or if you’re vegan, parsnip, cranberry and chestnut loaf. Whatever your persuasion, you’re welcome at the Tampa Bay Timebank holiday potluck table. Bring yourself, a friend, and a dish to share. Come and meet us at the Tuesday, December 18 Third Tuesday of the Month gathering at Tampa’s Life Enrichment Center (LEC). We’ll be talking timebanking and, of course, noshing and de-lishing on seasonal foods including some turkey and trimmings. We’ll also carve out time for a group activity:

Contemplate the World Through the Lens of “Gifts”

“Leading gratitude researcher Robert Emmon says that ‘perceiving a positive experience as a gift may be a form of cognitive amplification that enhances positive feelings. When we amplify, we increase or make more powerful the object of focus. Our positive feelings become amplified when we see their source as a gift we have been given to benefit us.'”

Here’s the essence of what we’ll try when we’re together. Bring a piece of paper and a pen:

“Focus for a moment on benefits or ‘gifts’ that you have received in your life. These gifts could be simple everyday pleasures, people in your life, personal strengths or talents, moments of natural beauty, or gestures of kindness from others. We might not normally think about these things as gifts, but that is how we want you to think about them. Take a moment to really savor or relish these ‘gifts,’ think about their value, and then write them down…” Plan to share, if you’re comfortable with the idea.

See immediately below for the straight up holiday news on when and where we’ll meet. In the mean time, Boris Karloff and TBT hope your Christmas lights stay tangle-free!

Date Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Time 6:30-8:30 PM
Address 9704 North Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33612; phone: 813.932.0241
Questions? Contact coordinator@tampabaytime.org or call (215) 834-4567 and reference our Holiday Season potluck at LEC. Yippee!
Let Your Light Shine
December 4, 2018 — 17:41

By Grace Maselli

You’re being beckoned, dear reader, to think about what’s meaningful to you this holiday season. The question to consider is, What sets your own inner light ablaze? What gives your life and soul a sense of purpose? What revs you up, puts a smile on your face, inspires you to spread joy and declare your life distinguished to you? What feels purposeful  from your perspective? Is it children, animals, volunteerism, the interconnectedness of family?

Here’s hoping you’ll accept the invitation to think about it more deeply. In a quiet space. Or a noisy place. Where ever your inspiration may

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

come from. Let us know here in the blog comments box, or let it roll around in your heart as you consider holiday cheer from TBT and timebanks everywhere that are devoted to connection, to keeping people in communities linked to one another!